Bleed for This

Ben YoungerUSA116 minutes201414AColourEnglish

Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart star in this biopic of former world champion boxer Vinny Paz, who struggles to return to the ring after an accident leaves him severely injured.

Vinny Paz (Miles Teller, Whiplash), one of few American boxers to hold world titles in three different weight categories, had his ascent interrupted by a cataclysmic accident. With Bleed For This, writer-director Ben Younger (Boiler Room) zeroes in on a pivotal chapter in a remarkable life.

Family is everything to young Vinny. There's his fiery and domineering father, Angelo (Ciarán Hinds), his religious mother, Louise (Katey Sagal), who avoids her son's televised fights by hiding in a hallway-closet Catholic shrine, and several fractious siblings. They're all trying to make their way in working-class Rhode Island, and their hopes are pinned on Vinny's boxing. He has every intention of fulfilling everyone's dreams, but he just can't seem to find the edge he needs to get ahead.

That changes when he meets Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart), a coach whose problems with alcohol have led to the destruction of his own career. Each finds in the other a second chance. The two bond, they train hard, and Vinny's success seems assured — until a terrible car accident leaves him with a broken neck. The prognosis is that he will never walk again, let alone enter the ring. It's the end of everything but Vinny's indefatigable belief in himself, and he sets out on the torturous path to recovery, dead set on being a champion boxer once more.

Teller shines as the pugnacious Rhode Island kid who, after being laid out by the biggest body blow of his life, defied all the odds to get back up again.

JANE SCHOETTLE

DramaIllness + DeathBiography